How A Single Man Unintentionally Changed A Civilization


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How A Single Man Unintentionally Changed A Civilization

You can see throughout actual history that there have been great and terrible leaders that have not just changed a culture's history, but even the world.
In the story of The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World, you can see firsthand that this can be true. Even though this story is thought to be a fictional story about a man from a faraway place, who washed ashore in a barren landscape. In the third paragraph, second and third sentences:
"The village was made up of only twenty-odd wooden houses that had stone courtyards with no flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desertlike cape. There was so little land that mothers always went about with the fear that the wind would carry off their children…"
This only means, like what I have said before, that the land was barren – most of their food came from the sea. It also says that food was hard to come by in the area and their height and built was caused by their malnourishment. We can actually look back in our actual history and see that our ancestors were smaller – both in height and also built – due to what they had available to eat and also their typical working conditions. This also proves that this location is nothing near what we consider civilized.
This man infatuated the people, who paid close attention to every detail – which included his hair and clothing. They treated him with compassion and with open-arms, even in death. The women of the village cleaned his body, made him clothes, and prepared his body for an honorable "burial."
Also, it sounds like the author was trying to make the point that this man was, well-equipped and also beautiful compared to the men of the village. For example, in the fourth paragraph:
"Fascinated by his huge size and his beauty…they [the women] sewed [clothing for the man], sitting in a circle and gazing at the corpse between stitches…"
The society was a "man's-world," meaning that the women of the village were below the men; the women would stay home taking care of the home and children, while the men were out fishing and doing other "masculine" things. The women, found nothing but good in this man, they never heard a single word or seen a single action from this man but they used their imaginations – or one could think their dreams – of what this man was like.

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Just like the women, our minds always wander about thing like this—our minds always try to fill-in the missing pieces—this would include the past lives of the deceased. A great example is archeology, we try to figure out what civilizations did during their lifetimes, which most of the time is an educated guess – we will never know for sure. We can find an object and believe that it was a tool, when in actuality it was part of an instrument. A great example for that is in the movie How High, when one of the main characters finds a canon-looking object from Benjamin Franklin collection, when it was actually a bong.
We also, try to make our memories seem like they weren't so bad. This would include other's lives. For example, think back to a situation that happened, even five years ago. Almost every time, a person will make the story sound like you were the victim or not a fault, and the other was the villain or cause of the problem.
The women of the village made stories, in their minds, about this man. Many believed that he suffered from being a freak, having to walk through "small" doors or "low" ceilings. The women felt sorry for the man, when possibly, the man was considered normal in his land.
There were many symbolic parts of the story. This could include one how the man was peaceful-looking, but after the abuse by the men they all believe that the man was showing emotion of sadness.
"…one of the women…removed the handkerchief from the dead man's face…they only had to take the handkerchief off his face to see that he was ashamed, that is was not his fault that he was so big or so heavy or so handsome, and if he had known that this was going to happen, he would have looked for a more discreet place to drown in…"
But in actuality, it was probably metamorphosis of the body drying out and also starting to decompose. But like what this writer has said before, the people used their imaginations to fill-in-the-blank the situation and made assumptions.
Also, they, like many civilizations, believe in rebirth. Before the villagers threw the body off the cliff, the women gave the man a couple of main-altar decorations, including a scapular of the good wind and on the other side a wrist compass and also gave him holy water jars.
This writer believes that the scapular and the compass was a gift of major importance. Being that is was a sea-going community and that knowing the wind and also your direction would dictate life and death for these types of civilizations. Also the holy water can be thought to make the person clean of their sins or imperfections as a human. Even in real life applications, many religions purify a body before burial both physically and spiritually.
Another symbolic detail was how "the wind was blowing steady nor the sea so restless as on that night." In many cultures, people will believe that wind is a spirit of a deceased person. Could this be a sign that the man was meant to wash ashore?
My opinion, yes, I believe that even at the time, a person – even deceased – can change a person or a community. This would be proven throughout the entire story.
For example, originally the men were going to attach an anchor to Esteban, get rid of his body, but the women insisted placing relics on him and finding every way to procrastinate, while the men were wanted to get it over with, but one woman showed the man's face to the other men and they were mystified too.
Esteban made such an impact to the others, that they painted their homes, planted flowers, their houses would be wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger floors so that Esteban's memory could go everywhere without bumping into beams, not because of his actions or words, but for his beauty. The people were proud of their Esteban, they were proud to call this his home.
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